Summer 2016

Tints and tones at the dawn of film

Fantasia of Color in Early Cinema

By Giovanna Fossati, Tom Gunning, Jonathon Rosen and Joshua Yumibe
Designed by Jonathon Rosen
Amsterdam University Press, €34.95, £28.50

Legend has it that audiences for the Lumière brothers’ film The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station in 1895 screamed and ran away at the sight of a train hurtling towards them from a cinema screen. That seems quaint now, as I guess films from cinema’s early silent years do to many people – a useful device for witnessing life over 100 years ago, but sadly little more. The ostensible raison d’être for Fantasia of Color in Early Cinema (by Giovanna Fossati, Tom Gunning, Jonathon Rosen and Joshua Yumibe, designed by Jonathon Rosen, Amsterdam University Press, €34.95, £28.50) is to bust a myth that cinematic colour arrived with Dorothy and her Technicolor red shoes in the late 1930s.

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Cover and spread from Fantasia of Color in Early Cinema by Giovanna Fossati, Tom Gunning, Jonathon Rosen and Joshua Yumibe.

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Isabel Stevens, writer, curator, London

Read the full version in Eye no. 92 vol. 23, 2016

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